The campaign filings also show that, despite challenges facing individual candidates, whether it's raising big money or getting donations from small donors, the Republican side is keeping pace with the campaign of President Obama. Republican primary candidates combined to raise $49 million from July through September. That's $7 million more than the $42 million raised by Obama's re-election committee.
Among the primary candidates, some candidates are separating from the field, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Rep. Ron Paul pulling in substantive hauls of $14 million, $17 million and $8 million, respectively. Pizza mogul Herman Cain, a surprising contender in these late months, raised $2.2 million in the third quarter, more than expected from the once-fringe candidate. Rep. Michele Bachmann, once thought to be a major contender and a successful fundraiser, raised only $3.9 million in the third quarter, a number that should be disappointing to someone known as the best fundraiser in Congress.
The other candidates are going to have a much more difficult time getting their messages out, apart from the televised debates. The campaigns of former Utah Gov. and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and former Speaker Newt Gingrich are each in debt more than $1 million. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum raised only $700,000 in the third quarter, an amount that would be unimpressive in a Senate election bid.
At Mullings, Rich Galen offers a simple explanation of why Perry has been able to raise a lot of money:While Mitt Romney remains Wall Street's favored candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has turned to energy companies and industries with investments in his home state to help finance his presidential bid, a USA TODAY analysis of new fundraising reports shows.
The biggest source of campaign money to Perry: Employees of a Dallas tax and accounting firm owned by George Brint Ryan, a longtime Perry supporter. Ryan, who donated more than $500,000 to Perry's Texas campaigns over a decade, also is helping to guide an outside group that can raise unlimited funds to aid Perry's presidential ambitions, as long as it doesn't coordinate with his campaign.
Ryan employees donated $116,000 to Perry, according to the analysis, which examined individual contributions to 10 presidential candidates. Employees of coal producer Murray Energy ranked second, adding more than $66,000 to Perry's war chest.
We do know that more than half Perry's money came from the donors in the State of Texas. As a very wise Texan told me when Perry first announced:We are a Texas business. Perry is either going to be President of the United States or he's going to be Governor of Texas for the next three years. In either case, our name is going to be on that first finance report. We also know that about $13.5 million of Perry's money (nearly 80 percent) has come from donors who gave $2,500 which is the maximum amount. They can't give again in this primary season so we can assume the Perry campaign has been ramping up its small-donor program - the folks who give more modest amounts, but can be hit up again and again.